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  • Writer's pictureRaveena Nair

The Art of Photography in the Age of Technology

Art, a word that speaks of many emotions, is defined as the expression of one’s creative thoughts and experiences. The answer to what surpasses as good art has always been subjective. But is it the same today?

Once only accessible and relished by the elite community, art was seen as a form of treasuring and passing down knowledge. It was a clear line that separated the elite from the common man as only art galleries held pieces of different fine arts.

The internet has definitely democratised art. Today art is open to anyone with an internet connection. To an extent, the internet has drawn away financial barriers and censorship through various platforms.

From Pinholes to Films: Photography Unfolds

Photography is an art that has been changing its course with evolving technology. From the 4th to 16th century what was limited to a pinhole image developed to a better and sharper output with looping. Later the advancement in technology made face photography possible, still only under very specific conditions. In the era of negatives, one could capture emotions better but the dedication and skill set that was required to nail each shot were tremendous. Today when we can capture 50 images with a single click, with negatives one could only capture 50 images on a whole. The hard work that went behind developing each negative in the lightroom into a photograph was strenuous.

The eye to obtain the right lighting and composition to freeze the moment was non-negotiable at that time than ever. This limited the art form to only professionals.

The second half of the 1900s saw a significant improvement in the technology associated with photography, where multiple images capturing and development was possible in a shorter period of time. The invention of colour photography also added a more realistic life to this art.

The Advent of Click & Save Era

In 1995 as the first digital camera hit the shelves the sail of photography started taking an incalculable turn. As digitalisation eliminated multiple barriers which always held on to specific conditions to crack this art form, photography experienced democratisation. Now, the task of developing a physical photograph and its storage was out of the picture. Soon enough camera phones also became easily available.

Though the quality of the output was initially questionable, the freedom to capture and store each memorable moment elevated the experience. As the technical advancements in professional cameras reflected in mobile cameras too, the art of photography once restricted to small communities now became accessible and practiced by a much larger community.

Statistics show that 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in the year 2012, and that was just the beginning of the click and save era. While traditional photography professions involved in-depth education and skill-set development, which was both pricey and time-consuming, digitalisation erased these factors. This situation gave birth to unfair competition in the field where people started opting for quick, easy, and cheaper photography over the high-quality skilled output. Film photography over the years had come near to its end due to digitalisation. Even professional cameras have been undergoing changes rapidly in the 2000s. From SLRs to DSLRs, to now mirrorless.

Embracing Art with Technology

While digitalisation has shrunk the shelf life of stories, today renowned professionals from the field of digital photography are trying their hands at film photography. The effort and timelessness of film photography are slowly getting back their due credit. Companies like Kodak and Fuji, which are associated with the production of films, have marked a significant growth of 5% in the demand for films in the recent past.

Accepting the advancing technology is a requirement for the growth of our society. But in the case of art, the need to embrace the past and present is equally important to keep art alive.

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